Frequently, for men, the debate about the repercussions of divorce center on the financial aspects, with regards to child support and alimony. Not enough is mentioned about the emotional impact it also has.
Research shows that men are far more prone to depression after getting divorced, compared to men who remain married. This is why I always advise people to take some time during their divorce proceedings to address any negative feelings they have.
Perhaps this doesn’t apply to you though, and you’re suffering no ill affects – just passing the time while you await the documents to nullify your marriage officially. Recently, two-thousand people who had just been divorced were surveyed, and almost half the men wanted to find a new wife.
Regrettably, if your divorce is still in the works, you are not legally single. Suffice to say, there are a few reasons why you should avoid jumping into a new relationship too quickly.
The Pitfalls of Dating During Divorce
Two out of three people who marry for the second time, end up getting divorced again. This should not deter you from trying to find another partner though; but you should bear this in mind before rushing down the aisle again.
It is vital to carry out a personal evaluation of yourself, to understand what caused your marriage to fall apart. This way, you can avoid repeating those errors going forward.
Any woman worth her salt will want you to be fully divorced, before making a commitment. You might honestly intend to find a new partner and finish your marriage. However – as I mentioned above — you’re still officially attached.
Trust me, you do not want to date woman who has no problem with seeing a married guy. You are still legally spoken for, so if the lady is aware of this and still swoons in your presence, she has a range of underlying issues — even if she does not realize it. Ultimately, this will not work to your advantage.
Legal Problems With Dating While Getting Divorced
As well as considering the feelings of a prospective partner, you should take into account what your present wife might think, if you start playing the field now. Dating before divorce might irritate your otherwise placid other half, and cause her to be less reasonable in negotiations about asset division and child custody.
In states that issue divorces based on blame, the fact that you were dating while divorcing could be used as proof that you were unfaithful before the break up. The integrity of those you frequently bring into contact with your kids is a factor in parenting arrangements.
If you have a new partner, she might be subject to a criminal background check by the courts, due to her likely proximity to the children.
Therefore, your current need for companionship could ending up costing you a lot — in more ways than one. This is why dating after divorce is always less complicated. Try to let your feelings spur you on to end your marriage promptly, by concentrating on the important aspects of the divorce settlement.
I recommend waiting a minimum of half a year, before dating again.
The Plan of Action
After I split with my wife, my sleep patterns really suffered. My brain wouldn’t stop working and, after I woke up, I kept mulling over all the negative things that were occurring. Whatever time of night it was, once I was awake I would either stay in bed fretting about stuff, or get up to go for a jog.
Believe me, I did lots of jogging during this time!
When I was out jogging, I started to see the plus points of my breakup. I am still (reasonably) young, have a decent income, and am in fairly good shape. I would like to think that some women might find me attractive, and suddenly I am available again.
Apart from thinking about my children, I am free to do whatever I want, when I want. This improved my mood considerably. Although I was not ready to rush into anything heavy, I thought I would feel a lot better going out and meeting some new women.
Certainly, during your divorce, there’s no harm in meeting new people. It’s a good way of occupying the time that you would otherwise spend with your wife. Strictly speaking, this is not classed as dating — but it is the start of moving on. To become more social, you could try volunteering for good causes (like animal shelters or museums), taking gym or writing classes, or joining a church or book club.
When you do finally start dating, make sure you are doing it because you genuinely like the other person, and not to fill the void left by your wife, or because you are angry at your ex. Try socializing in a group, rather than coupling up with one other person straightaway.
Virtually all activities that you can do as a couple can be done in a group as well. Examples of activities you could try include hill walking with a bunch of male and female friends, going to the cinema or theater as a group, and visiting the park or beach with several other people.
For me, dinner groups are the best method to meet new people. Sitting round a table with other single people at an organized event, where you can talk and get to know others. There might be someone present who you like, and you might catch the eye of someone there, however at the very least you have had a nice meal and chat.
There are lots of groups that arrange these events. Less than a week after my break up, I attended one of these dinners, met someone there, and I am still seeing her three months later on a regular basis.
The Dos and Don’ts of Dating During Divorce
Try not to describe yourself as ‘separated’ to prospective new partners. This word is off putting to most women. Anyone who has experience of divorce, be it from their own past relationships or their friends, understands how legally and emotionally difficult it is.
If you say you are ‘separated’, it could mean that you are in the midst of a divorce, and are arguing over the assets and children. Or, it might mean that you have just left your partner and have not yet filed any paperwork. Alternatively, it could mean that everything is agreed upon, and that you are just waiting for the official confirmation.
All women who date divorcing men are taking a risk. While some of these divorces are all but complete, and the men are mentally ready to commit, this is not usually the case. Therefore, you should be mindful of this and approach things tactfully.
(Qualified) Honesty is the Best Policy
Most men avoid doing anything that could frighten women off, because they realize it damages their chances and puts them at a disadvantage. Frequently, this results in foolish behavior like being deceitful — for instance, not informing a woman about your impending divorce until much later in the relationship.
You do need to tell the truth, otherwise you will eventually come a cropper — you should present it in the right way though.
Don’t go into too much detail, because you don’t want to come across as if you are unloading your problems onto her. Handle your divorce in your free time and concentrate on her when you are together. Explain that your divorce is progressing and that you have everything in hand. Highlight the positive aspects.
If your divorce is nearly complete, tell her, PROVIDING it is true. Tell her about the things that you and your previous partner agree on, and if your family are being supportive. Normally, your martial status will not be an issue to her, as long as you demonstrate that you are in control and will not negatively affect her life.
Don’t be a Selfish Lover
Many men who are going through a divorce want to start dating, because they are sick of their own company and desire some happiness after the trauma of a break up. This is understandable.
However, most do not think about what they can offer women.
They fail to grasp that women aren’t interested in men who can’t provide what they need, who embroil them in their problems by moaning about them, and who expose them to the wrath of their ex partners.
If you are dating while getting divorced, you should look at things from her point of view. Be truthful about your circumstances and what you can provide. Protect her from your divorce details and ex partner. And – although you are emotionally fragile yourself at the moment – concentrate on satisfying her needs.
Men who take this approach have more success dating while divorcing, because they avoid a lot of unnecessary aggravation.
Do the Right Thing by Your Children
If you have kids, understand that their response will vary, based on their age, but that all children will probably resent you dating shortly after splitting from their mom. Consider what your child or children will think when they see you spending time with other women. They may not have yet come to terms with the loss of their parental unit. Children younger than ten are often more attached to their parents. Teenagers usually conceal their emotions.
Children of all ages tend to worry about not seeing one of their parents regularly, after a divorce. You should tell your children that, although you are meeting other women, you have no intention of finding a replacement for their mum.
Be communicative, but avoid sharing too much. End the discussion, assuming your children are OK with you dating. Give your children the chance to voice emotions and worries, without fearing ramifications.
Even if you have finalized your divorce and your children seem fine with you dating other women, do not introduce them to everyone you date. It is best to reserve these introductions for someone who will stick around for some time, rather than casual flings who are not long term girlfriend material.
Younger children often form emotional bonds with people easily. If your casual fling decides to end the relationship, your child might be traumatized by this as well. If you do not know your date well, they might have a negative influence on your children in a way that you didn’t expect.
Be aware that children require time to adjust to their new routines, with their parents living separately, before you add new people into the equation.
Dating can make you feel less depressed, more valued and alive. It can improve your social life and allow you to meet new friends. Nonetheless, it can also obstruct the emotional healing process after your break up, or – if you alienate your ex partner or children – produce a financial burden and invite criticism from your friends and relatives.
When dating during divorce, refrain from living with your new partner, unless you are ready for that to be a factor in the division of your assets, and your child and spousal support payments. Don’t get too serious with anyone new, otherwise you may regret this at a later date, because you were on the rebound.
Spend some time working through your feelings and finding yourself again after the divorce.
The worst thing to do, after suffering a marriage break up, is to shut yourself away feeling sorry for yourself. Although the event was painful, accept that it happened and that agonizing over it will not alter the situation.
Remember, there are plenty more fish in the sea – you simply have to get out there and meet them.
Your ex partner might have made you feel worthless, but other women will value you as a person. I am still quite guarded with my emotions, but I am gradually becoming less so.
Once bitten, twice shy – the thought of it occurring again terrifies me. However, life is not a dress rehearsal, so I’m going to keep trying.